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Work is under way to get proper Steam Controller support in the Linux Kernel

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In addition to an update to the excellent SC Controller software, it seems there's also work towards getting full Steam Controller support in the Linux Kernel.

Currently, to get proper use out of the Steam Controller you either need the Steam client open, or to use something like SC Controller. However, this could change due to the reverse engineering effort from one hacker. This is actually the second revision to their patches, which cleans it up and implements a few more features.

Part of the problem, is that currently it will show up as multiple different types of devices like a virtual keyboard, a virtual mouse and so on. Here's what the developer of the patch said:

This driver was reverse engineered to provide direct kernel support in case you cannot, or do not want to, use Valve Steam Client. It disables the virtual keyboard and mouse, as they are not so useful when you have a working gamepad.

Working: buttons, axes, pads, wireless connect/disconnect.

TO-DO: Battery, force-feedback, accelerometer/gyro, led, beeper...

They said they are working on a third revision to the patches and there will likely be more work to be done if it is to be accepted. Valve developer Pierre-Loup A. Griffais has been commenting on the mailing list as well to provide some help and ask questions. Part of the issue, is this needs to not break support for the Steam Controller with the Steam Client or other software like SC Controller. Nothing seems set in stone right now in regards to this particular code, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

You can find the information here on the mailing list.

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34 comments
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Shmerl 28 February 2018 at 2:57 pm UTC
Why can't Valve make such driver and use it directly after that?
Shmerl 28 February 2018 at 3:55 pm UTC
GuestBecause Valve want/need you to use their Steam client.

Tying hardware to clients is obnoxious.
Guest 28 February 2018 at 4:07 pm UTC
afaik this should be better eventually than the Steam client or any other abstraction layer that sits between the controller and the kernal for reduced input lag especially where emulation is concerned. Although the profile management on sc-controller for instance is nice, id imagine it could benefit from this too.
Shmerl 28 February 2018 at 4:08 pm UTC
meggermanAlthough the profile management on sc-controller for instance is nice, id imagine it could benefit from this too.

The GUI for the controller can just use the driver, instead of hacking access to it through USB python APIs.
Kimyrielle 28 February 2018 at 4:12 pm UTC
Shmerl
GuestBecause Valve want/need you to use their Steam client.

Tying hardware to clients is obnoxious.

*looks at Apple*

Yes...yes, it is.
Guest 28 February 2018 at 4:42 pm UTC
Shmerl
meggermanAlthough the profile management on sc-controller for instance is nice, id imagine it could benefit from this too.

The GUI for the controller can just use the driver, instead of hacking access to it through USB python APIs.

Yes, i should of stated that. i only imagined it would ;)
hardpenguin 28 February 2018 at 5:02 pm UTC
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ShmerlWhy can't Valve make such driver and use it directly after that?
My guess is that their daemon-based approach was initially less work, since they could reuse a lot of code to provide identical support on Windows and macOS, not just SteamOS/Linux.
BloodaxeNOR 28 February 2018 at 5:14 pm UTC
Aaah, this is great! Valve should just release Steam ControllerAPI independent of the Steam client. It would be so much more flexible than Xinput, and allow for a much greater range of gamepads to "just work" with any game utilizing it :-)
gustavoyaraujo 28 February 2018 at 5:29 pm UTC
Still waiting for being able to buy this controller in Brazil...
Mal 28 February 2018 at 5:30 pm UTC
ShmerlWhy can't Valve make such driver and use it directly after that?

First thing I can think of because otherwise they would then depend from linux kernel release process for steam controller updates and features. And linux kernel guys have comprehensively other priorities. So it makes sense for them to leverage steam client to deliver their software since it's already good at doing that.
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